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Eased visa policies boost exchanges, cooperation between China, Balkan nations

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-07-05 15:08


When the mutual visa-free regime between Serbia and China came into effect on Jan 15, 2017 -- making Serbia the first European country to lift visa requirement for Chinese nationals traveling to the country -- other countries in the Balkan region followed suit.

Montenegro decided to introduce convenient measures for Chinese visa-applicants since April 15, 2017. Romania, a member state of European Union (EU), also simplified visa application procedures for Chinese nationals on Sept. 15, 2017 under the uniform European legal framework.

This year, Chinese tourists will not have to apply for a visa to visit Albania during the peak tourist season from April 1 to Oct 30, while Bosnia and Herzegovina's (BiH) mutual visa-free regime with China took effect on May 29.

A pillar of China-CEE cooperation

Canceling or streamlining visa applications between China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries is a pillar of the cooperation mechanism between the two sides that has brought tangible benefits to the public.

Miodrag Popovic, director of the Tourist Organization of Belgrade, told Xinhua in an interview that visa liberalization is a proof of good relations between China and Serbia, in both political and economic spheres, adding "this decision was made in order to additionally strengthen our cultural and economic ties."

Marija Labovic, director of the Tourist Organization of Serbia, said she believed that visas were abolished because of strategically excellent relations between the two countries throughout the past decades. The decision, she said, reflected the two peoples' deep respect for and the understanding of each other.

Following the simplification of the visa application process for Chinese nationals, Romania is expected to attract more Chinese tourists, thus injecting vitality into its tourism industry. Bogdan Trif, Romania's minister of tourism, has expressed his country's willingness to become a main tourist destination for the Chinese people.

China opened a visa application service center in Romania's capital city of Bucharest, the first inside the EU, on June 22 to facilitate the visa process and provide better service to Romanians applying for Chinese visas.

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